Tea Producing Regions of India
What is tea?
Tea is a beverage prepared by pouring boiling water over dried (cured) leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are left to steep (brew) in the water and are removed before drinking the beverage.
Camellia Sinensis Plant
Camellia sinensis is a species of plant of the genus Camellia—a flowering plant—whose leaves, when cured, are used to make tea.
Different levels of oxidation in the curing process enable several varieties of tea—white tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea, and black tea—to all be produced from the harvested plant.
There are two varieties of Camelia sinensis from which tea is produced—Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (Chinese tea) and Camellia sinensis var. assamica (Assam tea).
Worldwide Tea Production
The top ten tea producing countries in the world, with the number of tons of tea produced in 2008, follows. In this article, I'll be discussing the top four tea producing regions in India.
Number of Tons of Tea Produced
Main Tea Producing Regions in India
The four main tea producing regions in India are Assam, West Benghal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
SOURCE (REGION / DISTRICT)
Assam (Assam Tea)
As you will have seen in the video, much of the tea in India is grown on tea plantations in mountainous areas of the country. Assam tea, which uses the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica, is an exception to this. Assam tea is grown in the lowlands, at or near sea level.
The state of Assam, which is the world’s largest tea growing region, borders the countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Brahmaputra River runs through the area, which is only one of two regions in the world in which native tea plants can be found. In other regions of India, the tea that is grown is Camellia sinensis var. sinensis. The variety known as Camellia sinensis var. assamica is unique to Assam.
The part of India in which Assam is located experiences high temperatures and a large amount of precipitation. During the day, the temperature in Assam averages 103°F (30.4°C). In the monsoon (rainy) season—May to October, there can be as much as 10 to 12 inches (250 to 300mm) of rain per day. The heat and the rain create a very humid climate, which the tea plants seem to prefer.
Assam teas are often used in blends with other varieties of tea. Two of the blends, which are among my favorite types of tea, are English Breakfast tea and Irish breakfast tea.
West Benghal (Darjeeling Tea)
Darjeeling tea is from the Darjeeling district of West Benghal. Unlike Assam tea, Darjeeling is not native to India.
Dr. Arthur Campbell (1805-1874), a surgeon in the Indian Medical Service, was the first person to plant tea in Darjeeling. Dr. Campbell became superintendent of a sanitarium in Darjeeling in 1839, when he was transferred from his post in Kathmandu, Nepal to India.
Dr. Campbell brought tea seeds from the Kumaun region of China with him to his post in Darjeeling, and he began experimenting with growing tea at his residence. Several other people began experiments with growing and cultivating tea in Darjeeling, and tea growing as an industry soon developed.
Darjeeling tea is usually made as black tea. Darjeeling white and oolong teas are also available. Occasionally, Darjeeling green tea can be found.
Kerala (Munnar Tea)
Kerala is located along a narrow coastline on the southwestern shore of mainland India. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the north and northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east and south. The width of Kerala ranges from 22 to 75 miles (11 to 121 kilometers).
Munnar is a town in Kerala which was developed by the British as a vacation destination, a place to visit in order to get away from the heat of the valleys and plains located at lower elevations. It is a hill station located in the Western Ghats mountain range in the Idukki district of the state. Hill stations are town located at higher elevations, usually between 3500 to 7500 feet above sea level—elevations at which the air temperature is much cooler than in the valleys below.
Several tea plantations (tea estates) are located in and around Munnar. The area is popular as a tourist destination. Tourists may stay at one of the many hotels in Munnar or, if they're lucky, find accommodations in a guest house on one of the tea plantations.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu (Nilgiri Tea)
Tamil Nadu is located in the southeasternmost part of mainland India. It is bordered by the states of Kerala in the west, Karnataka in the northwest, and Andhra Pradesh in the north. The Bay of Bengal borders Tamil Nadu in the east, and the Indian Ocean borders the state in the south. Mountain ranges which border Tamil Nadu are the Eastern Ghats in the north and the Nilgiri Hills, Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad in the west.
Nilgiri tea is grown in the hills of the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. Tea plantations or estates in the Nilgiris district generally own and operate their own tea processing facilities. More than 50% of the tea grown and processed in Tamil Nadu is exported. It is primarily used in the creation of blended tea for tea bags.
Video Sung in Tamil, the Offical Language of Tamil Nadu, India
The only official language of Tamil Nadu is Tamil. English, the official language of India, is widely spoken.
I asked fellow HubPages writer, Dr. Mohan Kumar (Docmo), who was born in Chennai (formerly Madras), Tamil Nadu (formerly the state of Madras), to recommend a Tamil music video to be included in my article. Dr. Kumar selected this video of Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World from India, singing the Tamil song Kilimanjaro.
Temple Jewelry from South India
A cultural and historical aspect of South India is the beautiful temple jewelry. Ishwaryaa Dinesh from Tamil Nadu has written a wonderful article about these works of art. Included in the article are photographs of Ms. Dinesh's family members wearing pieces of temple jewelry.